Do you have a stiff, painful jaw that clicks and pops all the time? Does it ever become stuck when you try to move it? If so, you may be suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) refers to the small hinges on your jaw that allows it to move fluidly whenever you eat, speak, laugh, or yawn. Issues with this joint due to strain or injury can create a number of dental and overall health problems, but fortunately, the team at Ellicott City Smiles is able to both diagnose and treat this serious but little-known problem. If you’re ready to say “goodbye” to jaw pain and even migraine headaches, contact us today.
If you exhibit any of the symptoms we mentioned above, we’ll start by testing the range of motion of your jaw and asking if you experience any other kind of persistent pain. Migraines, for example, are a very common side effect of TMD. Depending on your particular situation, we may suggest that you do relaxing facial stretches during the day, or if your issue is more serious, undergo the treatments outlined below.
When the jaw is misaligned due to TMD, this can cause the teeth to come together incorrectly, leading to high amounts of pressure being placed on very small amounts of enamel, which can be quite painful because this can cause the teeth to literally shift within the socket, pinching the delicate nerve. With an equilibration/occlusal adjustment, we’ll take an impression of your teeth, identify these pressure spots, and gently reshape your teeth so that they come together smoothly and painlessly.
This is a small, custom-made mouthpiece that will shift your jaw into a more relaxed and natural position in order to relieve the symptoms of TMD. A patient will only need to wear it to bed, and it will also provide a protective barrier to prevent the teeth from being damaged by unconscious grinding (also very common with TMD). In some cases, the jaw will eventually be able to find this new position on its own without the splint, but other patients may need to wear it continually in order to keep seeing results.
In addition to being used to eliminate small facial wrinkles, Botox can also provide quick and effective pain relief. When using Botox to treat TMD, a few small, painless injections will be placed on the strained jaw muscles in order to keep them from painfully contacting. This will relieve discomfort in the short term as well as enable the muscles to better heal on their own. Treatment only takes a few minutes and provides almost immediate results.